It is no secret that employers struggle to identify, hire, and retain top talent. Given technological advances and increased globalization, the need to access and hire specialized talent in an efficient and cost-effective manner will likely only increase in the future. Companies may also struggle with determining the best staffing solutions as they enter new industries, obtain new customers, or try to keep up with and manage their growth. Notably, companies also struggle to develop initiatives that allow them to identify and retain specialized experts on a short term or on demand basis to tackle difficult but short-term problems. For companies in need of short-term specialized expertise, professional learning networks offer an on-demand model for access to diverse talent pools that do not exist in-house and often times would not make sense for companies to expend resources building and maintaining on a long-term basis.
Traditional employers are continuing to discover that they can benefit from the gig economy through the utilization of external platforms to hire contract workers. Sometimes companies are caught off-guard by a sudden uptick in demand or an employee resignation and suffer from the detailed and drawn out process of hiring a long-term employee. Employers are increasingly eliminating staffing lag time by relying upon gig platforms to efficiently hire and onboard workers for short-term needs during peak demand cycles.
As the gig economy continues to grow, (https://www.fisherphillips.com/gig-employer/did-gig-economy-growth-contribute-to-strong) some employers may become accustomed to creating external job postings for short-term and freelance projects. However, in doing so employers could be ignoring a more obvious talent pool: their own employees. By creating an internal gig economy platform to notify employees of short-term and freelance projects, employers can create the opportunity for employees to apply for side-projects that they find interesting and that will also allow the employee to enhance the organization. In doing so, businesses can also avoid the unknowns of hiring an unfamiliar freelance worker and can quickly meet the staffing demands for short-term but important projects. Additionally, employees may be able to refer other skilled freelancers to their employer.
I couldn’t help but be struck by two recent headlines which appeared to stand diametrically opposed in answering the question of who is driving the gig economy.
One headline from World Finance touted the driving force of the Millennials – “As more Millennials are choosing to freelance, employer must evolve to suit employees’ needs.” The tagline for the article then issued the following proclamations: “Millennials are going freelance in their droves. Companies will have to transform beyond recognition to lure modern workers away from the freedom of being their own boss.”
As the U.S. unemployment continues to drop to pre-recession levels, the supply of motivated and qualified workers is tightening. Gig economy businesses competing for a shrinking supply of labor may want to consider turning to refugees and asylum seekers to fill their ranks. It turns out that giving gig platforms to resettled refugees and asylum seekers can boost profits and help companies adapt to a globalizing economy.